After being captured by Antinomy, Alabaster learns how the seasons started. He learns that curious orogenes created a hole that reached into the core of the earth, expelling the moon and causing apocalyptic seasons.
Ultimately, one can summarize that digging the hole was waste of time and energy, much like college! This class has made me realize how much of my education is wasted because of stress about money or the one number that defines my ability to succeed in the future, the dreaded GPA. It costs over 20,000 dollars a year to go to a state school if you are a New York state resident. By the time you finish school, you’re well over 80,000 dollars in debt. Most people, in addition to school debt, have to pay rent, car payments, insurance payments etc. Therefore, the debt gets paid off gradually. Since it’s being paid off gradually—and not immediately—your loans are incurring interest.
The best part is that all of this is that your whole future (and ability to pay off this massive debt) depends on your GPA. I’m going to law school. My whole future depends on how I look on paper. They will look at this number, and make a decision that is crucial to my future. It feels like, the worse my grades are, the bigger the hole is. If I keep them up, minimal damage is done, but if I let them slip, I expel the moon and set off deadly seasons in my life.
Ironically, my grades are not always within my control. At UB, my professor admitted to me that he could only give out a certain number of A’s and B’s and C’s. A project that was an A in his eyes had to be demoted to an A- because of the school’s policies on leniency. I have another professor at Geneseo, who is a wonderful person, that doesn’t “believe” in giving 100’s, because there is always “room for improvement”. While I understand the principle, I don’t like how it affects my academic standing. School is a scam that opens doors for the affluent and lucky. If I’m not the human embodiment of perfection, I’m paying dozens of thousands of dollars to be weeded out of success.
Much of what I did at UB and occasionally here is busy work. I can’t afford an education that requires me to tedious do busy work, rather than refining my skills. People who don’t have to worry about bills and expenses can afford to do a little busy work. However, those of us who work to pay our expenses, cannot afford any wasted time. Much of my education–especially at UB–has felt like wasted time and effort. Could it not be argued that they way college is designed perpetuates the wealth gap? It is deathly expensive, It tests your ability to do excessive amounts of busy work, and then all you have to show for yourself at the end is one defining number. I can count one one hand the classes that have pushed me to succeed, and better myself throughout my college career.
This class actually requires me to analyze my abilities as a writer and to improve. I’ve only had a few classes that have done this. I appreciate it, but at the same time, it makes me mad. I’m mad that the cost of improvement and real education is damage to that dreaded number that defines my future. I’m mad that in order to improve and fix mistakes, I need to take a series of dents to this precious number. Realizing this has made me wonder what the point of being here is, when the classes that make me better, make me look like a failure, and the classes that are no real benefit to me improve my academic standing. It really makes me feel like college is a waste of time and energy at times, like digging the hole that messed the world up.
It’s a dramatic metaphor, but at UB, I didn’t learn anything and no one cared. However, my GPA was law school material. Here, I’m becoming better and growing as a person, but I have a decreased chance of getting into a good school because that number is lower. Perhaps I would be less pessimistic if I didn’t already have so much student debt. This system feels as damaging and pointless as the system of standardized testing that plagues American education. Both limit progress and growth, as did digging the hole that set off the season and set humanity back centuries. The only difference is that I’m digging a financial hole, instead of a physical one.